Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry and Natural Resources

First Advisor

Dr. John J. Cox

Abstract

White-tailed deer are one of the most sought after game species in Kentucky. While much of the Commonwealth boasts high deer populations, those in southeast Kentucky are viewed as relatively low compared to other regions, even after a decade of restrictive doe harvest and multiple years of population supplementation via translocation. We studied survival and cause specific mortality of a local population of deer near the Redbird District of the Daniel Boone National Forest in Clay and Leslie County, Kentucky from January 2014 - January 2017. We estimated female annual survival at 0.89 (CI: 0.88-0.87), with an overall 3-year survival of 0.69 (CI: 0.56-0.84). Deer vehicle collisions and poaching were the most frequent mortality causes and represented 13 of 18 (72%) of mortalities. Managers should consider all forms of mortality and their relative importance in wildlife population dynamics when making harvest decisions. We recommend longer-term studies similar to ours to better understand population trends and inform regional management of this species in Kentucky.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.495

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